Mayor skirting the issues

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I am responding to a Nov. 24 letter to the editor written by the mayor of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s (PCSP), entitled “Story on town had errors: mayor.” It seems that Bill Fagan’s letter also contained some errors.

First he said, “For a councillor to be in a conflict of interest, the issue must be discussed or voted on in council or committee.” The truth of the matter is that a councillor can be in a conflict of interest, but if no one brings it to the attention of council or a committee, nothing is done about it. Action is taken only when council or a committee rules on the situation and applies a penalty.

Is there a conflict of interest currently? I do not know, but maybe the proper avenue and venue to clear the air is for council or a committee to assess the situation and rule on it. Isn’t that the process the mayor himself endorsed in his letter?

The mayor said, “We have had over a dozen good news stories in the Town of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s lately.”

That may be the case, but what the mayor was really referring to were the stories contained in the towns “good news” periodical. The stories are nothing more than the kind of “feel-good” stuff that every single city, town or local service district in Newfoundland writes about. While they may be somewhat noteworthy to town residents, they are far from newsworthy to residents regionally or provincially.

Finally, there was a comment by the mayor that was condescending, belittling, insulting and showed disdain for anyone who dared say anything the mayor didn’t approve of. The mayor said, taking a swipe at The Telegram, “The People’s Paper seems to favour a few disgruntled people connected with our town.” Instead of saying “citizen,” “resident” or “taxpayer,” he chose to use the word “connected.”  

While PCSP is a nice place to live, it is not possible for every news story to be good. The mayor seemed to suggest that the less than good things should be hidden and only the disgruntled would ever publicize such issues or problems. How naive of me to think that before you can hope to fix a problem, large or small, you must first recognize that a problem exists.

The mayor is living in a perfect little world where everyone follows all of the rules and only good news stories exist. While he may be the mayor of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, he is obviously living in the land of Oz.

Harvey Jarvis

Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Portugal Cove, Newfoundland

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